Prescription Drug Abuse Resulting in More ER Visits
Between 2004 and 2008, abuse of prescription opioid drugs like Vicodin, OxyContin and Dilaudid has risen more than 111%.
The study examined data gathered from SAMHSA's Drug Abuse Warning Network, which looked at emergency room visits due to non-medical use of prescription drugs. According to the data, ER visits due to the misuse of opioid painkillers more than doubled from 2004 to 2008, with 2007-2008 alone seeing a 29% increase. Dilaudid abuse resulted in the greatest increase in ER visits, rising 259% over the 4-year study. ER visits due to OxyCodone abuse rose 152% and hydrocodone product abuse rose 123%.
Why Is This Important?
Prescription drug abuse and addiction is one of the most prevalent drug problems in the United States. Moreover, more than 71,000 children in the United States require emergency treatment for accidental poisoning from prescription and OTC drugs results every year. Overdoses and addiction to prescription drugs are so common for two main reasons--the drugs are readily available, and people falsely believe that prescription drugs are safe because doctors give them out. In reality, prescription drugs are controlled substances precisely because they can be dangerous and addictive. They also can serve important and legitimate health purposes, making them easily available and prone to abuse.